Sunday, February 23, 2014

Interview with Author Delilah Dawson (and Book Giveaway!)

Here at the The Writing Sisterhood we're always happy to welcome other writers and share their successes with our wonderful readers. Prolific author Delilah Dawson has just released her latest novel, Wicked After Midnight and has agreed to answer some questions about her work and her publishing experience. The best part is that Delilah is giving away 3 copies of her e-novella THE DAMSEL AND THE DAGGERMAN! All you have to do is leave a comment below, fill out the quick form and you'll automatically enter the giveway. The contest ends on Saturday, March 1. Good luck everybody! UPDATE: Winners have been chosen. Please scroll down to see if you're one of our winners!

Hi Delilah, welcome to The Writing Sisterhood!

Thanks so much for having me!

Q: Please tell us about your new book. What is it about?

A: Wicked After Midnight is the final book in the Blud trilogy and can be summed up as steampunk vampire Moulin Rouge. The series takes place in a fantasy world where most of the animals and many of the people drink blood, where pets are clockworks and fashion is dominated by thick corsets, high collars, and gloves. Demi Ward is a blood drinker and circus contortionist from our world who sets out to become a star in the cabarets of Paris. It's a dark, twisty, glittery, sexy adventure.

Q: Could you share what your publication process has been like?

A: I didn't grow up knowing I wanted to be a writer—I assumed that writers were called to their destiny, like doctors or nuns. Then, in 2009, when my second child was almost a year old, I was living on three hours of sleep a night and basically broke my poor brain. All the signals that told me I couldn't write a book disappeared, and I knocked out my first draft in a couple of months. After exhaustive online research and edits, I queried that book, a quirky women's fiction, receiving over 50 rejections and some kind agently feedback that the writing was solid but the story was fatally flawed. I scrapped that book and wrote a middle grade. After over 30 rejections, I received offers of representation from two amazing agents. It was a difficult and painful decision, but I chose the one who handled lots of different genres, since I knew my next book was fantasy for adult audiences. My agent didn't sell the middle grade, but we worked on the fantasy, turned it into a romance, and sold it to Pocket at auction in a three-book deal. That book was Wicked as They Come. Since then, I've sold three e-novellas, a Big Six anthology story, a commissioned comics e-novella, three YA books, and several short stories and comics. I love being an author and finally feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do. More books are always in the works!

Q: Everything supernatural/fantastic seems to be more popular than ever. Why do you think that is? 

A: What I want most in a book is an escape. I don't want to think about mortgages and cancer and PTA dues. I want to be transported away from my worries and straight to a magical place full of possibility and adventure. I like the fast pace and creative worldbuilding of fantasy, and supernatural elements tap into the accepted cultural shorthand to make strange creatures seem familiar. Almost all of my books are built on fantasy, so I hope the trend continues.

Q: Could you explain what exactly is “steampunk”?

A: Steampunk has as many definitions as it does admirers. Some people describe it as Victorian science fiction or like the Wild Wild West movie but... good. Even if people can't describe it, they usually know it when they see it: corsets, top hats, and technology based on gears. The steampunk in my books arose naturally from the worldbuilding. Since all the prey animals, including horses, are vicious predators, the people must travel using trains, dirigibles, submarines, and horseless carriages and keep clockwork animals as pets. The best steampunk, in my opinion, go deeper than just the aesthetics of the Victorian world with cogs glued on and helps to inform the society, mores, fashion, and everyday life throughout the story.

Q: YA has recently become a crossover genre, with more and more adults reading it. That's put pressure on YA authors to write for two distinct audiences in one book. Do you feel that pressure?

A: Yes, but I don't see it as a negative. I like the immediacy, feelings, and excitement of YA books, along with a bit of snark and humor. And I like writing romance with themes of feminism, independence, and falling for men who balance passion with intelligence. Therefore, getting your YA peanut butter in my Romance chocolate is not a bad thing—it's a great thing. I did need some coaching regarding YA dialog, as my brain is definitely stuck in the 90s crossed with now. But I think people who like the Blud series will find the same dark whimsy and adventure with a touch of horror when they read my YA books.

Q: What inspires your stories?

A: Every story is different. Wicked as They Come was inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the album Like Vines by the Hush Sound. Wicked as She Wants was inspired by a reimagining of Princess Anastasia as the most dangerous woman around. Wicked After Midnight was inspired by my love for Baz Luhrman's Moulin Rouge. And Servants of the Storm, my August YA debut, was inspired by a combination of a trip to Savannah, a girl's picture from a fashion magazine, a viewing of The Tempest, and an afternoon in the basement during a tornado. My agent says I'm like a gun, that if you point me in a direction and shoot, I'll find a target.

Q: If you had to define your work in one word, what would it be?


Q: Who are your three favorite authors?

A: They used to be strangers whose books I like, but now that lots of my friends are authors, this question is far more challenging! If you're looking very simply at the books I wait for all year and read in a big rush the second they're out, it would be Cassandra Clare, Tiffany Reisz, and Diana Gabaldon. If you want a list of the authors who are my favorite people, we're going to need a bigger boat. ;)

Q: What advice would you give writers trying to get published? Did you ever feel like giving up?

A: My best advice is just a reminder that it's not over until you stop writing. Writing is not like a video game where you get a certain number of guys before GAME OVER, where you have to run a specific course. There are infinite paths, infinite ways to write, infinite times you can query a new book, and tons of ways to level up your skill set. I'm sure I had moments, right after form rejections from “dream agents” or rejections on full manuscripts, when I felt wronged and furious and done, but nothing keeps me going like hope. I would get a rejection and immediately send out a new arrow, knowing that one day, I would hit the target. And, yeah, I still have doubts and down days and times during writing when I feel like an untalented phony who will never succeed. But I keep going anyway, and the great days far, far outnumber the bad.

Q: Do you have plans for your next novel yet? 

A: Good gravy, yes! Servants of the Storm debuts in August, and I can't wait to unleash it on the world. I'm working on two first drafts, one a dark and twisty women's fiction and the other a YA Weird West adventure. I have a geeky YA contemporary marinating before its first revision, and we're in talks to shape the sequel of my 2015 YA. And I have an anthology story due in March. I've never been so busy, and I've never been so happy.

Thanks Delilah!

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  1. Love the interview and this series is a favorite!! Happy Reading!

  2. "Therefore, getting your YA peanut butter in my Romance chocolate is not a bad thing—it's a great thing."

    I really liked this! It sounds so yummy! ;)

    I find Steampunk to be so trippy at times, but if it's written well it can be a very god read. I'm not so sure about all the blood drinking and vampires aren't necessarily my thing, but I find it incredibly interesting how you manage to weave all these elements together. World building can be so tricky!

    I completely agree with how many different paths a writer can take. Those who succeed are the ones who persevere and look at the publishing industry from every different angle and know how to make it work for them. Congratulations on all your books, Delilah!

    Thanks for a great interview!

    P.S. I love Baz Luhrman, too!

  3. I was simply blown away by Wicked as the Come. What an amazing story and awesome world. It felt very Alice in Wonderland with a blood drinking white rabbit named Criminy. ;-)

    Awesome interview by the way! I get the broken brain thing.

  4. "Therefore, getting your YA peanut butter in my Romance chocolate is not a bad thing—it's a great thing." I really like this, too. Of all genres, those two are natural crossovers, since pretty much all YA stories have a strong romance subplot (or are just flat-out romances). I prefer the romance in YAs very much over standard romances, though I'm not sure why.

    I haven't tried steampunk yet, but some of my daughter's friends are *way* into it. I'll have to check this one out ... sounds fascinating! Fun covers, too. Thanks for a great interview, both of you!

  5. I never knew the inspirations behind Delilah's stories. Very interesting!

  6. What an interesting interview! I´d truly love to read this book :)

  7. Back in the day, when all I would read was fantasy, I felt that way about ANY fantasy I read - I didn't want there to be any trace of "my world" in the fantasy world, except of course for the fact that generally human beings existed in the book(s). I didn't even want them to have "normal in my world" names, and therefore never wanted to read a book with a character called John or whatever. I've expanded my tolerance a lot since then, but I usually do prefer fantasy book characters to have fantastical names. Unless it's urban fantasy, of course.

    That wasn't even really a thing "back in the day".


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